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Guo Feixiong Challenges Tianhe Court’s Conviction and Sentence

December 4, 2015

In an appeal to the Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, rights defender Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), also known as Yang Maodong (杨茂东), who was sentenced last week to six years of imprisonment for “gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places” and “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” challenges the validity of the ruling of the trial court, the Tianhe District People’s Court, and requests a retrial.

Among the main arguments Guo made are:

  • The court failed to show that his protest activities outside the main gate of the Southern Media Group in January 2013—in support of the strike by Southern Weekly’s editorial staff against Party editorial interference—“caused serious disorder on the scene.” That he did not cause public disorder was “directly proven by all the videos shown in court: of me making speeches, [of other scenes] made by Domestic Security police, and of the traffic diagonally opposite to the spot where I was making speeches,” Guo stated.
  • The testimonies by witnesses Yuan Bing (袁兵) and Yuan Xiaohua (袁小华) were extracted under torture and beating, and their use as evidence at trial was therefore unlawful.
  • The court’s ruling cited falsified contents of his defense statement and made-up statements purportedly offered by him. He wrote in the appeal, “During the pre-trial period, I gave zero answers to questions about the protest in support of the Southern Weekly and the “Eight City Flash Actions” [public protests in eight cities in 2014 involving raising placards to call for disclosure of high-level officials’ assets] . . . . But the verdict cited my ‘statements’” about planning the actions.

Guo argues that the court, in basing its ruling on coerced testimony, evidence that did not support the criminal charge, and testimony that was made up, was in violation of Article 53 of the Criminal Procedure Law.

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